Wikibooks:Reading room/Proposals

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Welcome to the Proposals reading room. On this page, Wikibookians are free to talk about suggestions for improving Wikibooks.


Source Code[edit]

There is a persistent problem with source code in Wikibooks. It is very prone to vandalism or introduction of errors, as only a small subset of editors may understand the content and even a smaller one would be inclined to check each edit and the implications to the "correctness" or "compilability" of it. I proposed sometime ago a source code protection for only register editors with the review flag but I guess no one cared about to address the issue. That can take the form of (or a mix of) a Wikimedia software solution or a policy that empowers book communities and reviewers. Another implication to this volatility is also in regard to code licensing (copyrights), but that can only remain a consideration for now and be addressed independently. --Panic (discusscontribs) 05:40, 2 June 2018 (UTC)

Usually the source codes from Category:Subject:Computer programming expose one concept, so they are too small to be compilable or copyrighted. But if someone posts a full 100 lines page of code in one commit, I google that content. Compiling it is pretty quick with https://fiddles.io/. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 11:43, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
It is hard to define what size wise can be copyrightable without a legal challenge, but as natural languages, the rules should be the same, so a simple phrase (ie: routine) can have rights associated. In any case the rights is not the primary concern, as I stated. But I watch several programs (not simple routines) on Wikibooks and several of those have a history of people claiming rights over them (signing into the contribution), I have also watcher rewrites to make a claim and have reverted unreasonable claims. In any case protecting the pages would reduce a lot of wasted work on this area. It would also help enable resume of work, as I'm aware of at least 2 other editors that became frustrated but the code vandalism that happens on the project. I have also stopped contributing code and checking in minor code edits due to this (vandalism/errors) issues (it becomes time consuming to recheck variable changes and non obvious logic). --Panic (discusscontribs) 12:25, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
I understood the question to be partly about protection in the technical (rather than legal) sense. The level of technical protection you're talking about sounds like semi-protection. However, the platform provides protection per page, and I don't see how anything finer-grained than that would avoid becoming far too complicated to be humanly useable (defeating the purpose of wikis). Per-page is the level of such things naturally supported by a wiki; which is also inconvenient over at Wikinews, especially when we need to separately review-and-revise multiple pending edits to a published article. I do not however see anything to be done about it, and I'm rather certain anything of this sort attempted by the Foundation would be catastrophically counterproductive (due to their fundamentally misguided goals).

A possibility I have used a couple of times, and have hoped to make much better use of at some point in the future, is some sort of notification category, building perhaps on {{evalx}} and even dialog. The idea is, broadly, that pages check themselves for some expected property (for which {{evalx}} is very useful), and if the property is not as it should be, they use a category to flag themselves out for inspection by a human operator. Then, providing good semi-automation to assist the human operator is where dialog ought to come into play, if I can just get the practical use of dialog to a more sophisticated level. The one case of this I have in operation on Wikibooks is Category:Attention needed (allbooks), which in the coming upgrade of the subject hierarchy (which I'm still in the process of cautiously designing) looks to be replaced by Category:Book:Wikibooks Stacks/Attention needed. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:38, 2 June 2018 (UTC)

In the only book with code I've made major contributions here, most source code is transcluded (resides in its own page and is included with the text, probably why the problem is made more evident to me as all edits are more clear in function), this helped reuse of examples and maintenance. If for example it is somehow set for reviewer flag level edit protection there is no exclusion of contributions to the "normal content" edits. The change could be in a per book upon request from a reviewer active on that project, even setting some categories for that admin job, this also eases policy change as it can be included on the particular of the reviewer policy. I don't foresee problems as reviewer are invested editors on the project, often project specific and most are contactable.
For a patrolled/major editor keeping a large number of these code pages under control is impossible, from indentation changes, format, wikitext for color edits to real code with time a large portion of the code easily becomes corrupted. Page reviews helped at first but at the same time as the number of code changes increased in number or complexity I chose to cease reviewing those edits, sadly to the detriment of readers (since we publish unreviewed edits).
The present situation also made me stall a practice textbook (very good to get new editors on the project, and I had planed to link it up with Wikiversity). It seems still to be popular in its trashed state, but I couldn't spend the time reviewing all the re-wrights of already accepted/verified solutions.
How complex or easy the solution becomes depends on software limitations and/or admin work, in the end, the reality is that the status quo is not sustainable. Just check the code edits on the algorithms book (and their history for a look on the energy spent keeping it right and often failing) if you have the patience. I also noticed that some books covering less popular languages (or less edited) get less of this error creep (like the ADA book, even if I don't watch each page I haven't seen it on the logs), all others suffer form the situation. --Panic (discusscontribs) 00:40, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
There is no protection level between semi-protect (only autoconfirmed users) and fully protect (only admins). I would be (pleasantly) surprised if the Foundation would allow introduction of a protection level for only reviewers. We do have the technical ability to set any page so that the most recently sighted revision is visible, as we have done for all the pages at Wikijunior. Unfortunately, that doesn't help with a transcluded page: even though the page itself displays the most recently sighted revision, the most recent revision is, I believe, transcluded regardless of whether or not it's sighted.

There are, however, various opportunities for mild intervention. In addition to the sort of attention-needed categories I mentioned above, there might be an opportunity to transclude a code page through a template that, in some manner or other, prevents unauthorized changes to the code from appearing prematurely on the transcluding page. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 03:32, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Now under construction: Wikibooks Stacks[edit]

As part of the infrastructure overhaul I've been doing for, at this writing, just over 23 months, and following from the previous discussion here in the ongoing series of threads (link), I'm now developing a replacement for the current subject hierarchy, in the form of a book called Wikibooks Stacks.

I'm not currently asking for help with this, tbh. Somewhat embarrassingly, given the collaborative nature of wikis, just atm I really need to do this carefully, step by step, myself, because there's still new design work involved at each step. But I do want to let everyone know what I'm doing, and perhaps folks here will offer advice (or point out that I'm making a huge mistake somewhere!).

When I'm all done, all our 3000-or-so books will be filed in both the "old" subject hierarchy and the "new" stacks, and I'll be able to do the equivalent of flipping one of those big high-voltage switches and suddenly the categories visible on each book main page will be shelves instead of subjects, and then I can start the process of carefully mothballing the old subject pages, one by one. Then it'll be time to start in earnest on the final(?) stage of this multi-year overhaul of our infrastructure, the introduction of topical categories that list pages as well as books, which will enable us to provide much better targets for incoming links from sister projects, including from Wikipedia.

Grouping all of this machinery in a book is more convenient, organizationally, than the Subject: namespace, as it happens. The new pages, equivalent to subjects, have name prefix Shelf: or, at the top level, Department:, which are not recognized by the wiki platform as namespace prefixes, so these pages are all technically in mainspace, as is the book. Our infrastructure templates such as {{BookCat}} and {{BOOKNAME}} know to associate these name prefixes with book Wikibooks Stacks, which is convenient because most of the pages involved don't have to have the name of the book built into them at all, they can just use markup {{BOOKNAME|Shelf:}} (which expands to Wikibooks Stacks). Shelves correspond to subjects that use {{subject page}}, departments to subjects that use {{root subject}}.

There are shelf categories, each with an associated allbooks category, just as there are subject categories with associated allbooks categories. When I set up the machinery of the subject hierarchy, I arranged that when any of the pages involved detected a problem, it would flag it out, and provide buttons to help a human operator implement likely actions to fix it. This time around, I've made some improvements to this semi-automation while I was about it.

I also very much want to arrange for dialog-based assistants to replace the older-style editing buttons (with the older-style buttons reappearing if the dialog tools are not detected — thus, graceful degradation when things aren't working right). This would be very cutting-edge use of the dialog tools, and I very much want to learn as much as I can from the experience, about how to make effective use of the dialog tools. Which is actually part of what's holding me up just atm: I could be marching forward with setting up shelves, but then I'd be missing out on this major opportunity to gain experience with dialog. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 19:51, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Redundant language interwiki links[edit]

Once again today, someone has removed the local interwiki links because they were redundant of Wikidata. Many of them are moreover incomplete, and the other projects editors don't update them, because the English Wikibooks is the only project I know which promotes these good old links since 2015.

The consensus from there wouldn't imagine the frequent differences between for example our links from Wikibooks:Statistics and the Wikidata ones, which in addition, are not limited to the other Wikibooks. So I propose to adopt the same system as the other Wikimedia projects to save some time and accuracy. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 18:01, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

Nothing has changed to invalidate any of the reasons I've objected strenuously to mass-destruction of local interwiki information. (In recent months I've noted —with no bad intentions anywhere in sight, just the error-fostering design of the system— large-scale corruption of Wikinews interwikis by subtle bot-action on Wikidata.)

I do very much want to implement a dialog-based assistant to maintain the relationships between local interwikis and Wikidata. Having trouble, day to day, conjuring time and energy for the tool development involved. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 18:20, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

Rules of rational discussion[edit]

Hi, I added a section about rules of rational discussion at the end of Using Wikibooks/Discussion and Consensus. You are all invited to discuss and modify this contribution, which is about all discussions in Wikibooks, and everywhere.--TD (discusscontribs) 00:18, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

Thierry Dugnolle, the honest truth is, your personal ideas about how wikis should be run cannot be trusted. You're trying to bureaucratize the common-sense activity of contributing to a wiki, making something easy into something difficult, which cannot credibly be expected not to favor the sort of personal editorial control you've recently been blocked for trying to claim against policy and consensus. Just leave it alone; there is no problem for you to fix, except the problem you have been creating by trying to claim rights that you aren't entitled to on the project. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 00:44, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
The common sense rules that you erased are not about how wikis should be run, only about rational discussions. They say nothing about editorial control. Your description of the previous debate is not very accurate. The community should have the possibility to discuss these rules before you erase them. This is why I reproduce them here, so that everyone can discuss them:

The ideal wikibookian in a discussion (new version)[edit]

When users disagree, discussions shall never degenerate into bad controversy, because they are bad for the community as a whole and for each participant. Here are a few rules which we should keep in mind if we want to participate rationally and peacefully in a discussion.

Remain civil, and as friendly as possible. If you humiliate a participant, you don't win the debate, you only show your wickedness. Never write about participants' intentions if they have not written anything about them. Never insinuate anything but always speak frankly and politely.

Seek consensus. If you want others to change their mind, you have to give them good reasons. Don't hope that they will be seduced by the quality of your writing. It never works. They will agree with you only if they think that it would be silly to disagree.

Invoke the rules. If you think a participant is not right, you have to find a good rule which proves it.

Never pretend you know if you don't know. Remember that a wise human being is not someone who always says that they know, but someone who always says that they don't know, except when they know.

Do your homework. Before participating in a discussion, you should read the page which is discussed, the previous interventions of others, at least if they are not off topic, and the other pages relevant to the discussion. Don't intervene if you don't know what the discussion is about.

Focus on the subject, the title of the discussion, and never make personal judgment. If you think a participant is silly, don't publish it. Just explain as diplomatically as you can why you consider wrong what they wrote on the subject. If a contribution is off topic, just answer that. You don't have to comment.

If your emotion is too strong, don't click on Publish changes. Wait until you have calmed down. Remember you can remain silent as long as you want. No one can force you to react. Take your time. Remember also that all versions of all pages of Wikibooks are archived. Look at the History tab of a page to check it. This means that what you publish can be read by the whole humanity for ever. With a few exceptions, what is written is never deleted.

Be fair. Don’t extract a few words out of their context to mislead the reader. More generally, never suggest a false interpretation of a participant's words. Remember that there can’t be any successful communication without the linguistic principle of charity : always interpret the others’ words in a way that is most favorable to them.

Respect previous workers. If you disagree with their work, start a discussion in the relevant page and be polite. Otherwise you could be perceived as a vandal.

Take always the side of the truth, as much as you can. Respect proofs and refutations. Don’t repeat a false argument if it has been refuted.

--TD (discusscontribs) 12:31, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

The beginning of the following discussion is about an old version of the previous rules

It's plausible that you don't see the bias in these "rules", probably because you're so immersed in the biased perspective yourself, but this is not advice about how to conduct oneself in a spirit of cooperative comeraderie; it's a set of rules to condition users to expect an argumentative atmosphere. Wikipedia has a viciously argumentative atmosphere, which is a major reason why it's considered socially toxic and users emigrate from Wikipedia to more friendly projects such as this one. (Of course this is all connected to your campaign for personal editorial control; you've described in some detail how you envision that working by argumentation; but even independent of that, it's fundamentally a mistake that Wikipedia made and we should not.) --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 01:36, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
These rules are inspired from Wikipedia's rules, because I read the latter a long time ago when I was an active wikipedian, but they are not a reproduction. I wrote them my way because it helped me to bear the psychological tension which results from discussions, especially when their participants don't respect these rules. If wikibookians think my way is biased, they are free to rewrite these rules in an unbiased way.--TD (discusscontribs) 02:06, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
You're trying to redefine your change to be the default from which others must argue for changes. Bluntly, that's nonsense. The default is the status quo, from which addition of your rules is a major deviation that would need to be justified — and would, on the contrary, be lethally toxic. It would turn this project into the kind of horrible place that Wikipedia has become. You seem to have profoundly missed the point, because you seem unaware that you are supporting my position when you say they were inspired by Wikipedia. My point is that Wikipedia's strategy has turned that project into a place that people don't want to be. Wikibooks is a place people do want to be, and that is what would be destroyed by your attempt to impose Wikipedia-style argumentation. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 03:05, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Your personal attitude towards Wikipedia is off topic. I only told the truth about the relation between these rules and Wikipedia's.
Your argument against these rules: they are like Wikipedia's rules. Now Wikipedia is a horrible place. Therefore these rules are lethally toxic. This argument is not conclusive since its main premise, Wikipedia is a horrible place, is very doubtful.--TD (discusscontribs) 09:48, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
The dire state of Wikipedia is widely recognized amongst the non-Wikipedian sisters, and even fairly widely acknowledged on Wikipedia. And you are missing the point, still. Humans are not merely automata; feeding them these "rules" would shape their behavior to create the sort of world the "rules" imply; in this case, a dystopia. This may be difficult for you to see because you have been carrying that dystopia around with you, creating microcosms of it on several pages over the past two weeks. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 10:34, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
I think that Wikipedia and Wikibooks are united. You should not pretend that your personal attitude is representative of the community.
A community like Wikibooks can't work without rules. The common sense rules that you think are lethally toxic are ordinary rules of all rational discussions. They are of common use everywhere when participants seek consensus, not bad controversy. This is not a dystopia.--TD (discusscontribs) 10:44, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
I"m not pretending; I've been paying attention, listening to and interacting with the communities of the non-Wikipedian sisters for nany years now. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 10:51, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
You are an administrator. Please distinguish your personal attitude from the consensual values of the community you represent.

What happens in Wikibooks when one of these rules is not respected?--TD (discusscontribs) 10:56, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

I am an experienced Wikibookian (somehow, over the years, I'm surprised to look around and realize I'm probably the senior infrastructure expert here, as many good friends have made their contributions and moved on to phases of their lives that, at least for now, do not involve Wikibooks). Also, an experienced citizen of the wikimedian sisterhood at large, having been centrally concerned with, and on-the-spot witness to, relations between sisters for many years. People like that, who have deep insight into the history, character, and dynamics of the projects, are often admins. I note you have shown a preference for dismissing others' opinions as merely their own while presenting your own as authoritative; in your recent voluminous campaign for web hosting/editorial ownership you repeatedly tried to pass off the demonstrated widespread community consensus and understanding of experienced Wikibookians as a sort of flight-of-fancy by two users who, presumably randomly, happened to have admin privs.

You're asking a strawman question. Pushing your "rules" on users conditions them to expect their interactions with other users to be adversarial (a highly unusual situation on Wikibooks, though you have been actively creating that unusual situation around yourself, of course). The operative question is, what happens to the peaceful Wikibookian community when you systematically condition users to expect an adversarial atmosphere; and the evident answer is, over time you change the atmosphere to an adversarial one. It puts me in mind of science fiction stories in which the aliens come to earth and set out to transform its atmosphere to something that humans can't breathe. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 11:56, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

Your judgment on me is off-topic. This is a discussion about the rules of rational discussion.
That these rules could change the atmosphere into an adversarial one is a good objection. I rewrote them in a more peaceful way.

Can someone find a good reason against the addition of the new formulation of these rules to Using Wikibooks/Discussion and Consensus? --TD (discusscontribs) 12:49, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

The problem with your "rules" is structural; the superficial changes you've made don't touch the essence of it. Your entire undertaking here is not addressing any problem that actually exists, and in doing this it insinuates its argumentative mindset into the minds of users. The argumentative foundation on which the "rules" are built would not be at all easy to remove, one would always have to wonder if it was really all gone, and it really appears that thing one is trying to remove was the motive in the first place. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 19:52, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

I suppose this means that you still think that these rules are lethally toxic. Could you be more specific and explain about at least one of these common sense rules why it is not good?

Can someone find a good reason, clear and simple, against the addition of the new formulation of these common sense rules to Using Wikibooks/Discussion and Consensus? (Please don't use words like structural or essence because I usually don't understand what people mean with these words.)

If no one finds a good reason against it, I will feel free to complete Using Wikibooks/Discussion and Consensus and it won't be a policy violation.--TD (discusscontribs) 22:54, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

I've observed this pattern in your behavior: You propose what you've decided to do; then, you reject what others say out of hand, keep saying that nobody has given any rational argument against what you say (which must be true if one defines "rational" as "what you want to hear"), repeat until your opponents no longer bother to repeat themselves, and pronounce yourself the winner on grounds that nobody has any further arguments to offer. That modus operandi is clearly not directed toward consensus, but rather toward beating your opponents into submission — that is, it is argumentative rather than collaborative. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 02:24, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
I thought I was simply working like every wikibookian. I make suggestions, I invite others to discuss them, and I follow reasons. Isn't it normal behavior?
Rational arguments are a form of cooperation. All participants in a discussion cooperate if they respect the rules of reason.
These rules tell what to do and not to do. Wikibookians usually already respect these rules, because they are common sense. But even if there wasn't any problem to fix, it would still be a good thing to write these rules, because they show that disagreement and cooperation shall not be mutually exclusive. Disagreements are ubiquitous in science and everywhere, but this is not a problem if the rules of reason are respected.
The question of the addition of these rules in Using Wikibooks/Discussion and Consensus seems to be settled, because its main opponent doesn't give any clear and simple reason against it. Therfore I feel free to edit this chapter. I hope it won't be considered as a policy violation. If administrators disagree, they are invited to warn me before blocking me. This doesn't mean that the discussion about these rules is ended. It never will. Wikibookians can discuss, modify or delete these rules on the relevant pages, but they have to justify rationally their decisions.--TD (discusscontribs) 19:07, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Pi zero just reverted my edit. He should justify his decision here: "imposing your personal ownership-oriented theory on the community". These rules are nothing but common sense rules. They are not my "personal ownership-oriented theory".--TD (discusscontribs) 19:29, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
(Added after edit conflict: I have made considerable efforts already to explain this to you. Your philosophy of editing, in conflict with the character of the project, is deeply inculcated in to the entire worldview propagated by that set of "rules".)
TD, regarding your question about normal behavior: Your profile in these discussions is not typical of this project. The whole effect is difficult to summarize, but, to start with, you tend to inundate the project; if anyone replies to you, you reply with more inundation, and your replies very often fail to grok what has been said to you. Nor is that failing-to-grok a simple phenomenon, btw; your misunderstanding appears to be a complex thing, with some things you just seem to not hear, while others are subject to misinterpretations. All this discourages others from responding; they're all volunteers, with limited time that is used profligately in attempting to engage in discussion with you, and as it becomes clear their words are not getting through to you, they're not likely to write still more that would meet the same fate. And then, when you're not getting further responses, you're apt to convince yourself that you've won the debate.
Now, in my own experience, this project occasionally has discussions that go on for a bit, but they have a very different feel from the above. A telling difference, seems to me, is that those discussions generally have a very rate of successful communication; although you mention from time to time that English is not native for you, and your English is on the surface quite good, there appear to be some subtler things that have routinely gone wrong in your practical understanding of the overall sense of things said to you in the discussions. It seems as if your personal beliefs interact with these subtleties of loose translation, in ways that interfere with things that might challenge your personal beliefs — an extraordinarily difficult effect to pin down, though it appears to be rather widespread.
Another difference I notice is that the usual sort of discussions are much more oriented toward communication. That is, they aren't debates, certainly nobody is trying to win points against anyone, they're exchanges of information by folks who share a common goal. Come to think of it, that sort of collaborative spirit, which I think of as typical here, is not something I've usually seen on Wikipedia... although I recall making a few remarks in that spirit in a Wikipedian discussion a few years ago, and one of the other participants in the discussion took a moment to come over to my user talk page there to thank me. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 20:39, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
All those remarks are off topic. This is a discussion about rules of rational discussion. If you have something to say on this topic, say it. These rules are common sense rules, they are not my personal beliefs. I remind you that I don't obey to arbitrariness. If you want me to obey you have to give good reasons.--TD (discusscontribs) 20:49, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
No, TD, they aren't off topic. You asked "Isn't it moral behavior?", which you may have meant as a rhetorical question, but in fact your behavior is not at all normal, and the reasons it isn't normal are extremely important to the various discussions you are engaged in over these issues. You say "If you want me to obey you have to give good reasons", but, besides the fact that you evidently find it natural to frame things in terms of obedience, you routinely fail to understand what others are saying, and at a high level you're consistently not up to assessing the reasons others give you. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 21:17, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
I always respected the rules. This is what I mean by "normal". I said "normal" not "moral", please be precise. I speak of obedience because Leaderboard and you want me to obey. If you didn't want me to obey, this controversy would not be.--TD (discusscontribs) 21:22, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

A single book on a single subject?[edit]

If I understood them correctly, a few wikibookians think that that there should be one and only one wikibook on each subject. Here is my reaction as a scientist. We need many different books on the same subject, we need many different points of view. If we collect all different points of view in a single book, such a book is usually huge and unreadable by a beginner. In an educational library like Wikibooks, the freedom to write many textbooks on the same subject should be respected. Otherwise it will never be a truly scientific library.

My proposal is that any wikibookian should feel free to write a new wikibook on any subject even if other wikibooks on the same subject already exist.

The current philosophy of this project is that cooperation is an obligation. This is contrary to the free-thinking of scientists. We cooperate if we want, we are opponents if we want. This is freedom. Let each one write freely the wikibooks they want, otherwise you will be an impediment to the development of science and freedom.--TD (discusscontribs) 21:40, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

You raise two unrelated points. The first point has to do with having more than one book on a subject, a common situation in our collection; either you have encountered somebody else who is unaware of how routine this is, or you have misunderstood something somebody else said. (From my observations of you, I'd guess the latter is more probable.) The second point is your usual rambling about editorial ownership; your core argument is a Wikibookian form of a common political ploy by elitist groups who want to take away the rights of others, in which they try to present this depriving-of-rights as protecting the rights of the elite. On that second point, your particular phrasing, this time around, is apparently based on several confusions, amongst them a basic lack of understanding of the concept of cooperation; if one supposes that you understand that concept, that whole paragraph would fail to make sense. If I were able to figure out the origin of that failure to understand cooperation, I would be proposing an addition to Using Wikibooks myself; but so far, no luck. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 02:09, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
The two points are related. If there can be different textbooks on the same subject then we can decide to cooperate or not with the authors of existing wikibooks.--TD (discusscontribs) 08:06, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Not in favour. One can't have two versions of rotational physics, for instance (otherwise one of them will be wrong, as there is only one correct version). A far better idea is to improve on that one book which would be there for each topic. The other problem is obvious: it'll simply result in duplication. Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 04:40, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
@Leaderboard: It depends entirely on specific context. It might well make sense to have just one book on a particular subject. There might be any number of reasons why it might make sense to have more than one book on, more or less, the same subject. The pros and cons of a single book, or different books, can have about as many variations as there are possible books, which is to say, effectively infinite variations, which cannot possibly be anticipated until the event. In our collection of 3000+ books —which I certainly can't claim to be thoroughly versed in, but due to my infrastructure work over the past couple of years I've at least touched on almost all of them— there are lots and lots of books that are the only one on their topic, but also, as I recall, over the whole collection a fair number of cases where books are covering pretty much the same topic. I think it would be counterproductive to have any sort of guideline either way. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 05:07, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
@Leaderboard: Different doesn't mean contradictory.--TD (discusscontribs) 08:19, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

Merge Template:One-page book into Template:BookCat[edit]

The one-page books like DBMS don't need a dedicated category like Category:Book:DBMS, because categories are meant to gather groups of pages.

That's why I propose to merge Template:One-page book into Template:BookCat, and to replace this couple of templates by {{BookCat|1p=yes}}, so it would add Category:One-page books and not Category:Book:. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 12:57, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

@JackPotte: It's an interesting thought; off hand, though, I'd think it apt to make infrastructural coding more complicated, multiplying special cases depending on features of a book. It's simple to assume if there's a book main page, there's a book category. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 13:24, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
That said, it might be useful to do a cross-check in {{BookCat}} regarding the number of pages in the book category versus membership in Category:One-page books. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 13:26, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

Making use of autoreview[edit]

That's just a permission which is rarely used which I think can be made into better use. Currently it is a rarely-used permission granted my sysops under their discretion (I, for one, give the permission when I feel that user is contributing on few pages).

As the much more popular reviewer permission is auto-granted upon meeting some conditions, I propose that the autoreview permission also be auto-granted upon meeting a lesser set of conditions.

Maybe something like

  1. 35 edits 30 reviewed edits and
  2. 10 days old account?

The conditions are designed in such a way to ensure that it is not too hard to achieve while keeping a barrier for bad-faith users.

I also propose that users who already have autoreview and later gain reviewer should (automatically) have the autoreview flag removed, as reviewer is a superset of autoreview. I plan to be manually doing this very soon to 'clean up' the list of autoreviewed users (which in itself is few).

Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 07:11, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

The best would be to get the whole picture before deciding the rights limits. I think about the sysop candidates, the voters limits, and even meta:Admin activity review/Local inactivity policies.
That's why I had manufactured a kind of state of the art on the French projects myself, and then we have voted to uniformized the first steps numbers on the French Wikiversity to 100 editions plus one month old account (for voting to anything and getting the autoreview flag).
Anyway, 35 seems very low to me, especially with the typos maintenance. So we would have to decide the meaning of a significant edition, and its value (10 pages of qualities = 1,000 typo corrections?). JackPotte (discusscontribs) 14:54, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
I see three suppositions here:
  1. that the only concern with conferring autoreview is bad-faith edits;
  2. that autoreview of one's own edits, when compared to review of others' edits, becomes safe at a significantly lesser level of project experience; and
  3. that the project suffers significantly from the cost of dealing with accumulating un-autoreviewed edits during the interval between sufficient project experience for autoreview, and sufficient project experience for general review.
In case it's not perfectly clear, let be the amount of project experience where it becomes safe to give the user autoreview, and the amount of project experience where it becomes safe to give the user review. The ratio between the two, , must be significantly less than one, or we wouldn't want to complicate things by conferring autoreview separately. If this ratio is, say, 0.95, that means the amount of project experience where it becomes safe to confer autoreview is 95% of the amount where it becomes safe to confer general review, and if the ratio is that high, I for one doubt it'd be worth it.

The purpose of requiring project experience before conferring review is more than just filtering out bad-faith editors. The review autopromotion threshold is concerned with the user's acclimation to the local culture of the project, as distinct from other projects, such as Wikipedia (from which cultural hegemony is a perennial problem for the smaller projects). In my experience, though, a project-inexperienced user is more likely to run barefoot through the project imposing cultural misapprehensions to their own edits. Therefore, I'm inclined to reject supposition (1), and therefore to mostly reject supposition (2).

Even if the ratio were significantly less than one, I would still be dubious of supposition (3). With the primary exception of Wikijunior, review on en.wb just isn't that urgent. We certainly do want to deal with it, but when we fall behind it's not a disaster, unless of course the edits we haven't reviewed are severely problematic. We try to notice problematic edits when they happen, and review is our safety net for when we don't catch them immediately. If it takes a while for us to collect things that get caught by the safety net, that's still better than not having the net. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 17:16, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

On a purely practical point, I question whether it is worth the effort to request automation of the allocation of autoreview given how few people request it. To extend Pi zero's thoughts, we need to be cautious with setting the level too low. Often the most problematic editors are class projects who can rack up 35 edits in an hour which are often full of copyright violations and other problems. Removing the requirement to contribute more broadly before edits are automatically accepted reduces our chance to course-correct these editors. The impact can then be mass deletion of their work later. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 17:22, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

┌──────┘
Thank you all for your views.
One valid concern I see is the concern of sufficient project experience before granting autoreview, and hence I'll make a small modification to my proposal: instead of just 35 edits, there should be 30 reviewed mainspace edits (excluding talk for instance). The reason is that the autoreview permission is meant for those who make contributive edits to only a few books, and there should be evidence of that. This should also solve the issue of 35 edits being too less; it's far tougher for 30 reviewed edits to be bad than 35 unreviewed edits.
@QuiteUnusual: The lack of clear documentation regarding autoreview is the major reason why so few people request it. I remember once querying about autoreviewing edits way back in 2014 in one of my RFP's, and some users wondered what that is. The RFP did not mention autoreview, and the related userright template did not mention it either then.
@JackPotte: your comment on "decide the meaning of a significant edition, and its value" got me thinking, and I tried to model this. A quick and dirty one gave me something like (where : average size of each edit, E: no of edits required): (with constraint ). That could also help counter the issue of users trying to evade the rule by making small bad edits.

Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 18:01, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

Your proposal does not appear to be solving any existing problem. Clearly there are drawbacks, and we get nothing in return for those. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 18:22, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

Proposal to delete Simple English Wikiquote and Wikibooks[edit]

There is a now a proposal to delete Simple English Wikiquote and Wikibooks. Agusbou2015 (discusscontribs) 22:29, 26 August 2018 (UTC)

Proposal withdrawn, and the projects will not be deleted. StevenJ81 (discusscontribs) 14:51, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

Restricting page creations and raising autoconfirmed limit[edit]

Restrict new page creations to users with account[edit]

I propose that the ability to create new pages in the main namespace be taken away from anonymous users. The reasoning is simple; ~100% of pages created by them are nonsense, test edits or otherwise get speedily deleted. While it may raise concerns that it is against the principle of free access, I believe that this restriction is justified.

This change is not without precedent; en.wikipedia currently restricts general page creation to autoconfirmed users.

For what it's worth, I do not propose requiring autoconfirmed; while that is certainly an option, I think there could be genuine cases where users (eg, as part of a class project) create a new page immediately.
(If that's what you prefer, then it will be necessary to create a "page creation request" option wherein users could request pages for creation to be reviewed by admins in a queue)

I had already thought about that time when the most part of the anonymous new pages would be trash, impossible to handle by our team. Today, I don't think that we've reached this critical point but I think that the problem isn't limited the the creations: all modifications are concerned.
My URL abuse filter for the newcomer has stopped the spammers, so we "just" have to delete around 10 test pages per day, which seems doable to me in order to preserve the wiki spirit, where anyone can publish anything valuable quickly. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 08:56, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
Maybe, but has any IP user ever published a sensible article? Modifications on its own I can understand; many IP users do make contributive edits, but I can't see that for page creations. JackPotte's filter army (especially filter 38) is incredible; I'm surprised with the junk which users try to insert into Wikibooks which one never sees (and hence I don't mind the occasional false positive on that). But that filter does not help with creating blank or gibberish articles. Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 09:12, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
IPs do make useful contributions here and there. I think there might be a book or two around that were created by IPs, though I couldn't lay my hands on them readily. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 10:38, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
Just stumbled across an example of a book created by IP, How to Type. Makes me wonder if there are more of them than I'd thought, since I happened across one so soon after the question was raised. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 13:15, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
The book in question consists of only three articles and was created way back in 2011 (were things different back then?). While admittedly still a surprise for me, I am inclined to think that this is a rare instance of an IP who has created pages which would come in the top 0.1% of all mainspace pages created by an IP. Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 13:53, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
I just crossed paths with another one: How to Tie a Tie. As you might guess, where I found those two has to do with the partly-alphabetical order in which I'm doing my current walk through the collection.

Beware of convenient reasons for disregarding information that doesn't fit your current thesis. I suspect you'd find the whole Wikibooks project was most active in its early years and has slowly declined since —a pattern whose cause, if it's really there, may be a deep, complex mix of factors— so it may be that the starting date of a book has good odds of being some years ago regardless of who created it. Also, asking whether only 0.1% of IP book creations are useful may be asking the wrong question; not only are we intensely interested in not turning away positive contributions, but we are also crucially interested in not turning way positive contributors, both because we want to retain them as contributors if possible —they are the pool from which the next generation of Wikibookians must come, if it's to come from anywhere— and because, regardless of whether they stay in the long run, we want them to come away with positive feelings about the project so that those feelings spread outward from them memetically to other potential contributors. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 15:02, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

Introduce edit count limit for autoconfirmed[edit]

The current Wikibooks policies state that autoconfirmed users need to be four days old. There are a few issues with that:

  1. It does not make sense for users who have never edited to be able to edit semi-protected pages by just waiting.
  2. Because users do not need to edit to get autoconfirmed, some edit filters (eg: the often-hit filter 38) have to be modified to take edit count into account. This means that users often get unknowingly caught, and we can't simplify things by just saying that users need to get autoconfirmed to insert external links.

Hence I propose that users need to make a few edits (in addition to the four-day rule) in order to get autoconfirmed status. I think 5 edits would do, but some other wikis use 10, so I leave that to you. Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 08:33, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

That's what Wikibooks:Autoconfirmed users says; I've no idea whether it's true. And I'd also be interested, before changing our criteria, whatever they now are, in how much trouble we now get from autoconfirmed users who would be excluded by the altered criteria. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 10:46, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
It's true; I remember one instance of an user caught by the edit filter; he had made only one edit and was listed as autoconfirmed. Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 11:42, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
Playing devil's advocate, an autoconfirmed class that doesn't require any edits is still a potentially useful preliminary filter against a large class of casual troublemakers with short attention span; a determined troublemaker with a nontrivial attention span can get past any plausible set of autoconfirmation criteria. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 13:24, 27 August 2018 (UTC)


Tag Proposal[edit]

Tags are used throughout Wikibooks to draw attention to something that needs attention, for example, there's something not neutral about a book, a fact is in dispute..etc...

At present, the current mechanism for tag use is to tag it and discuss the changes and arrive at consensus either for or against the requested change. However, what happens if something is simply tagged without discussion, like this example, which really did happen. This article was tagged by a bot that is no longer active back in 2007. No discussion was started and the tag remained. That's 11 years with no discussion and the tag still present. Or, take for instance this example ] which was tagged in 2006 by Sirakim, and again no discussion was ever started by that user or any other user.

While I commend the users for tagging the book, without discussion, there can be no consensus, and without the consensus, the requested changes (if they're actually requested at all ) can't be made. The current thought on this is to simply leave the tags in place unless consensus exists to have them removed. However, with the tags staying on the books for years without discussion, or with a dead discussion, they serve to make the books less likely to be read. Since the end goal of a book is for it to be read, these tags without discussion or with dead discussions (at least 3 years old like this one which was posted in 2012 and has had no responses whatsoever) , actually fail to serve that purpose. They , in fact, serve to make the books less desirable to be be read. In light of that , I'd like to make a proposal.

My proposal is this, that tag can be removed in cases where they are left without a discussion on the talk page, or if a discussion has stopped for a period of at least 3 years .

My rationale is: That the tag on the page without a discussion is useless, no one can read the mind of the person placing the tag thus making the tag useless. In the case of a discussion that's dead, like 3 years dead, even though there is no time limit, allowing 3 years for a discussion and coming to no conclusion makes the tag useless as well. Further by allowing tags to remain for years without any removal leaves open the concept of tagging as harrassment (en.wikipedia has had this problem and for that reason, allows for IAR removal of tags if it's been determined that they serve no purpose other than to harass.)

My remedy for this would be that the tag could be removed by an user, if , within 3 years there is either no discussion or the discussion has died without consensus, without predjudice, meaning the tag can be placed back in, as long as the editor is wiling to start a discussion and explain why this tag needs to be placed on this book.

Personally, I really think it should be a case of IAR, but as User:Leaderboard has objected to my doing this, I thought it prudent to start a discussion to see if a consensus might be raised.

So, what do you think ? Necromonger Wekeepwhatwekill 16:18, 29 August 2018 (UTC)

@Wekeepwhatwekill: You're misunderstanding some important points, here. (I commend your presentation, btw.) It's taken me years to grok some of this, and I rather welcome the opportunity to try to lay some of it out where it can be seen as a whole.
  • Your first statement is incorrect; you say tags are "to draw attention" to a problem, but no, that is not their primary purpose. Their placement is chosen to draw attention, but that drawing of attention is merely a secondary enhancement to their primary function. Their primary function is to declare that in somebody's judgement, there is a problem. It would be grossly destructive to erase our institutional memory of such concerns, and would to a disservice to readers, to potential writers, and to the books involved.
  • Wikibooks has fundamentally different community structure that Wikipedia.
  • If you think of Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Wikinews (I'm most familiar with those three projects, and have found them a useful progression to consider) simply as coherent projects, obviously Wikipedia is the largest, Wikinews the smallest, and Wikibooks of intermediate size. However, Wikipedia is, to a significant extent, a uniform pool of millions of articles, and it's expected that individual users, in general, roam moderately freely across many articles. On Wikinews, a given news article is only worked on by, typically, two people — a reporter and a reviewer. And Wikibooks has yet a different structure: in a sense, Wikibooks isn't a single project at all, but rather a confederation of about three thousand micro-projects, most (if not all) of them so much smaller that Wikinews is gigantic by comparison. These micro-projects are called "books". Each of them is far too small to warrant a whole administrative infrastructure on its own, and despite their many idiosyncracies they do have some properties in common, so they band together for a common administrative infrastructure. There is a fairly small community of users here who concern themselves with Wikibooks as a whole —some of those users are admins, a bunch more are not— and then each book has, at least in concept, its own community. However, the community of a book is profoundly different from that of a large project like Wikipedia, or even than the central-infrastructure community of Wikibooks.
  • Small projects, I have observed, have greater respect for users who came before; as project size shrinks, respect for the positions of past users rises. Wikipedia has far less; Wikinews has more; and on individual books, this effect reaches its highest form. It's not uncommon for a given book to have only one major contributor at a time; adopting a book is a common process here (one I've been through myself, both partial adoption and full adoption). There might be only one major editor on a book in a given year, or a given book might go for years without a major contributor. When one comes to a book, one generally puts much thought into understanding the approach to the book taken by one's predecessor(s) on the book, and if one does make significant changes it's after careful consideration and some notification and conceivably even inquiry on one or more user talk pages. It's sort-of as if past editors on a book are ghostly participants in current decision-making.
The idea of removing tags on book after some fixed number of years is just fundamentally contrary to both the time-scale and the attitude toward predecessors. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 17:19, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
@Wekeepwhatwekill: I must agree with Pi zero's first point; tags are to inform users that there is a problem as much as it is done to attract attention.
However, I do think that tags should not be kept for too long; certainly not 11 years. There should be some appropriate discussion made to that effect (but not removal after x years like what you suggest); after all, a freshly-placed tag could be taken more seriously than a tag which was kept ages ago. Leaderboard (discusscontribs) 17:54, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
@Leaderboard: To be clear —this may be compatible with what you're driving at— seems to me if a tag has been around for 11 years that's certainly a positive motive to do something about it, but how one goes about that is the same as it would be if one had acted much earlier.

An old tag might still be taken seriously, I think; it's entirely dependent on the specifics of the situation. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 18:51, 29 August 2018 (UTC)

Sounds like User:Leaderboardand I are thinking in approximately the same direction, that tags should just languish forever. What I'm saying, is if a tag is placed on the page, whomever places the tag should start a discussion and state what's wrong. A tag without a discussion, and no additional comments on the tag means that we can't see what the tagger saw. I'm certainly not about to remove a tag that was placed on a day ago, even a week ago or a month ago where a discussion was started but no discussion is continuing, we all have real life to deal with :) . But if it's left on 3 years with no discussion started or the discussion has died off, sure. That's time enough to have at least made some change or reach some consensus, dont' you think.

If that doesn't sound right, we can set some other criteria to it, like a greater year length with no discussion or a dead discussion and no consensus is reached, or some other kind of criteria. I'm certainly willing ! Necromonger Wekeepwhatwekill 19:48, 29 August 2018 (UTC)

One of Wikipedia's faults (amongst others :-) is its red tape. Bureaucratic rules. I'd like not to import that feature from Wikipedia to other projects. If one has a case of that sort to remove a tag (if I'm following you, the argument is essentially, the tagger didn't explain, I don't see the problem, and after all this time there's no evidence that anyone else saw the problem and either commented or attempted to solve it, either), I'd suggest making the case for tag removal on the associated talk page, perhaps inviting comments from people (projects reading room possibly?), give it some time, and after a while, then remove the tag. Or some variant on that, depending on particular circumstances. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 21:16, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
Keep it simple in my opinion: If the book is inactive, and the person who placed the tag is inactive, and you as an informed, active, editor think that the tag is no longer required or was misplaced originally then remove it with a comment on the talk page. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 08:06, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
User:QuiteUnusual I agree with the keep it simple approach, and that's what I originally intended to do (Kind of an IAR thing we have over at Wikipedia (IAR = Ignore all rules) ). In fact, one of my first edits was this one, where I invoked IAR (with a detailed explanation of why I was removing the tag), in this case, Mike's Bot tagged the page as being non-neutral, back in 2007, and opened no discussion, nor had anyone else, and the user running Mike's bot has retired, so he can't be asked why this page was tagged, so I thought this was a good candidate for an IAR removal under those circumstances, that edit was reverted . I was messaged about it on my page and after a quick discussion I stated I wouldn't touch the tags on any page for the time being, that's the genesis of this whole discussion.

There's no actual mechanism for removing tags, so I thought it might be a good idea to have some sort of mechanism for doing so when it's obvious that nothing is being done about the tag and more than enough time elapsed. Yes, I agree that there's plenty wrong with Wikipedia, that's why I'm over here and not over there, but that doesn't mean throw the whole model away, there are some things they do that are actually pretty useful, like IAR. Speaking of, what criteria would you use to determine if a tag should remain on a page or be removed ? Necromonger Wekeepwhatwekill 14:01, 30 August 2018 (UTC)